In many ways, your IT team is the force that guards your gates, keeping your data and finances secure. IT keeps your business profitable through everything from climate crises to data breaches. Without proactive talent, the rest of your business cannot be productive, so morale boosters like awards keep all the moving parts of your company fully operational. Your awards should act as benchmarks on the journey towards your goals, so metrics are an intelligent way to drive their wording.

Generally, awards should include:

  • The person being recognized (including both individuals and teams)
  • The award name
  • The sponsor of the award
  • Its date and timeframe
  • The reason for acknowledgment

Popular Metrics for Awards

  • Staff absence rates
  • Reduced incident rates
  • Overtime
  • Monthly task turnover rates
  • Return on investment
  • Participation in voluntary training programs
  • Percentage of projects delivered on time
  • Low project costs and high returns
  • A low defect percentages in test environments
  • Attrition (for IT managers)
  • Holistic performance reviews
  • Low budget variance from actual costs

IT is an art as much as a science, and the latter tasks are easier to measure for obvious reasons. It’s equally important to reward creativity, which gives way to innovation. A savvy human resources team will be able to benchmark this kind of information, along with the leadership skills your IT professionals have exhibited during the year.

Rewarding the Self-Motivated Employee

Most staff are extrinsically motivated by outside forces, but intrinsic motivation is often forgotten. Bear your self-motivated employees in mind during your next award cycle. This kind of award might require a little creativity in its wording:

  • IT Hero Award
  • Most Dedicated Employee
  • For Going Beyond the Scope of Work
  • Friendliest Help Desk Service
  • Most Creative Team Member.

Award Timing

A single award cycle that represents the entire year certainly has its place, but it doesn’t incentivize staff regularly enough. 87% of recognition programs forget about day to day work, focusing instead on tenures. To be effective, your award wording needs to be:

  • Specific enough to underline behavior and results rather than merely nodding to an employee of the month.
  • Regular enough to engage all staff. 71% of engaged staff are rewarded at least once a month.

Peer Recognition

Peer-to-peer award programs perform double duty, awarding excellence while drawing management's attention to achievements they might never notice on their own. Consider:

  • Best team motivator
  • Most proactive employee
  • Best contributor to platform migration
  • Dedication and Commitment
  • Neatest hardware
  • Significant efforts
  • Reducing downtime

Don’t forget to include the team or manager responsible for offering the award.

International Awards

Global businesses have the benefit of a larger task force that can contribute towards a more vibrant awards program. Global awards promote friendly rivalry among staff, giving your competitive employees an extra dose of motivation, for example: 

  • Best global data strategist
  • Most productive software engineer worldwide
  • Exceptional performance in achieving the highest number of successful support calls

You needn’t keep your award wording short and to the point. Gratitude isn’t always best communicated in three words or less. Your rewards are supposed to make your staff feel as though they matter to you, so take time to celebrate their success.

Remember to include your company logo, date, and recipient name on your award.

While benchmarks and metrics can help you to be creative about your wording, they should be used as tools, not rules. Sometimes, analytics simply cannot identify those employees who are most useful to your organization, so treat your awards as an opportunity to identify your key players. Understanding their contributions might teach you a hundred lessons about managing your HR more productively.